Reasons To Love Jens Lekman

Last month, everyones favorite Swedish singer songwriter, Jens Lekman, released a new album: Life Will See You Know. Frenzied Fangirl will be attending his show in Utrecht next month, and let me tell you why you should be there or be square.

I’ve strenuously avoided writing about music since the birth of this blog; I find it nearly impossible. After all, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Impossible. I’d love to be able to do it though; to tell you why some music appeals to me, why some music makes me cry, and some music makes me want to live a radically different life. I figured the easiest way to start is by writing about an ar527348_508109985868886_1803095852_ntist I feel strongly about, and since I absolute LOVE Jens, this is as good a time as any to get started.

For starters, I should mention that Lekman’s first album, When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog, is still my favorite of his, and it’s also in my top 10 albums of all time. My favorite of his songs is You Are The Light. Understandably, I was disappointed when Jens didn’t play one at the gig I attended a few years ago. Afterwards, he was at the merchandise booth to sign CD’s, and asked me whether I’d enjoyed the show. I said I’d loved it, but I was sorry he’d not performed my favorite song. So Jens sang it in my ear for me, right there, right then, acoustic. Yeah, he’s that kind of guy. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution: No More Spotify

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: I will no longer use Spotify. I have uninstalled the software from my computer and my phone and I’m about to tell you why.

Of course, we live in modern times. Never before has there been such free traffic of information, and by and large I think that’s a wonderful development. Nevertheless, there are downsides to the age of technology: use of social media has been linked to mental health problems (source), online shopping makes small-scale bookshops, my favorite places in the world, obsolete, and there’s an ever-growing privacy concern around technology. Watch some Black Mirror and see what I mean.

But there’s something else that really bugs me. With information becoming available globally for free, it has become devalued. Why would I buy a book if I can download a free epub? Why would I buy a CD when Spotify is right there in my hand? Why would I go hang out at a friend’s house if WhatsApp is so much quicker?

Of course, technology is convenient. It also leads us to believe that we are not responsible for our individual actions. Cyberbullying is a lot easier to do than putting someone down face-to-face, simply because it’s more anonymous. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t steal a book or CD from a shop where a shopkeeper was keeping an eye on you behind the counter, but you have no problem downloading the same content illegally.

I’m here to argue that you should have a problem with it. Now, I’m not telling you to travel back in time. I love CD’s, I love their glistening covers and the booklets full of lyrics and the whirring sound they make when the disc starts spinning, but I understand if you find CDs outdated and inconvenient.

But please consider the following: an artist receives one dollar per album sold on hardcopy through their label. When you listen to an album through a (legal) streaming service like Spotify, the artist makes 0,00029 dollarcent. That means that in order to make an American living wage (5 euros and 36 cents an hour, what the actual fuck??)  an artist needs to be listened to on Spotify 4,5 million times a month (source.) Obviously, illegal downloads earn the artist nothing. Of course, artists can supplement their income by doing live shows and selling merchandise, but my guess is you don’t want those things to be crazy expensive, either. Furthermore, the pressure to tour keeps these artists from having families. Additionally, life on the road can be a huge drain on an artist’s mental health. Artist’s don’t just exist to entertain you. They are also people with personal lives and needs.

Do you want to live in a world where the only music available is the music 4,5 million people listen to? Because that’s the ultimate consequence of using Spotify: our choices in music will become less and less diverse. “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Please be aware that if you’re getting something cheaply (through Spotify) or getting it for free, that means somebody else somewhere is paying the price. That person might be Beyonce, and I can already hear you argue that she can afford it. I don’t disagree. But it might also be Jens Lekman, and I am more than willing to put in a little cash to save his career.

Illegal downloading and legal streaming services such as Spotify have another downside: local businesses get in trouble because no one buys CD’s anymore. There’s Spotify users that use the service to browse, then go out and buy CD’s anyway. I just happen to think there’s a lot more people out there who don’t do that. don’t do that. But I will stop using Spotify and start buying CD’s this year. I promise you that.

 

Merry Christmas!

This is a very disorganized post listing all of my favorite Christmas-related pop culture. That means books, film, TV and music. All of these put me in the Christmas spirit Merry Christmas, y’all.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG OF ALL TIME: Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Kurt & Blaine singing Baby It’s Cold Outside on Glee

Klaine was amongst my very first OTP’s. When this song aired, they hadn’t gotten together yet, and I was so sure they would in the Christmas ep, but then I had to wait even longer… Oh, the torture of being a frenzied fangirl.

 

A Very Sorry Christmas by The New Mendicants

I like this song. And I wanted to share a Christmas song that was not (yet) incredibly well-known, so here we are.

 

Studio 60  season 1, episode O Holy Night

Blogpost(s) about the absolutely crazy amazingness of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip are forthcoming. I must first finish my West Wing-binge, though, because I can’t handle more than one Sorkin-show at the time. Either way, Christmas is the time for romance and so it is for Jordan and Danny. Damn, I need to watch this again.  Continue reading

Music, Concerts and Theatre of 2016

I saw 17 live performances this year. Two of them were musicals, two were theatre and the other 13 were concerts. My favorite concert this year was Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. It absolutely rocked.

 

No overview of my musical journey of 2016 would be complete without an honorable mention to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who completely changed my life with Hamilton: An American Musical.

David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar, came out this year. I haven’t been able to listen to it yet. I’m really eager to listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade, as I know it caused quite a stir. Unfortunately for Beyonce, I’ve been way too busy fangirling over Kevin Rowland.

My favorite album of the year with absolutely no competition is The Dexy’s newest: Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul. It’s incredibly beautiful. I have no words.

My live shows of 2016

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Music In Movies

I want to make it clear that this isn’t going to be a blogpost about musicals. I might do one in the future, because I love musicals, but this is not it. It’s not a post about soundtracks, either. This post is about characters in film that love to listen to or love to make music. Not biographies of artists or anything, although Velvet Goldmine ventures into that territory. Completely fictional love for completely fictional music.

Velvet Goldmine

I was recently reminded of how much I love this film when I started preparing for the Bryan Ferry show I’m attending next week. I listened to the amazing Ladytron. But this movie has more to recommend it than just a great soundtrack: it also has Ewan McGregor, whom I love, and a great narrative framework that keeps the audience on its toes.

If you’re a Dutchie and want to know more about this film, watch my father’s awesome video essay. Continue reading

Music & TV

Music and the moving picture can sometimes come together to create something more than the sum of its parts; the song becomes more meaningful than it was before, as does whatever video material you’re watching. This is why soundtracks are so important. In this post, I have listed a number of scenes from TV shows that had exceptionally good soundtracks. From the moment I first watched these scenes, I could never hear the songs without thinking of the shows they went with in my head.

Most of these paragraphs will have at least some spoilers of the specific episode.

The song: This Is Hell by Elvis Costello (Song starts at 1:50 in the video below)
The Show: Gilmore Girls, season two episode five: Nick & Norah/ Sid & Nancy
Why it’s such a great combo

This is the episode in which Jess, originally from a much larger town, moves to Stars Hollow. Of course, he is less than pleased about this development. After showing off his displeasure in a James Dean-like display of rebellion, Jess heads out on a walk through the town. That is when This Is Hell starts to play in the background. The combination of Elvis Costello’s clear, familiar voice and the optimistic tune with Jess’ teenage hatred is just really funny to me somehow.

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Best Of Europe

 

Good day everyone,

I’m proud to present to you: my first ever playlist as Frenzied Fangirl.

Playlist? You ask. Yes, I just put together a playlist, especially for you. Some of my friends might remember me having a radio show during the time I spent in York. It was called Later With Jules From Holland, and the general idea was that I presented an hour’s worth of songs each week, all connected to a theme. Since I really enjoyed putting these lists together, here’s another one. This week’s theme is European Music.

I will try to release a new playlist every week. And yes, I am taking requests when it comes to themes. Just please don’t make your requested themes too specific, or limited to one genre or artist, as that would make it more difficult to make and less interesting to listen to.

Enjoy,

Julia